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Reflection and Continuous Improvement

Reflection and Continuous Improvement

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In this lesson, students reflect on the use of SMART goals and action plans for continuous improvement.

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Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Thinking Person, Clker, http://bit.ly/1EmDSQV; Calendar, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1g0vXEH; Child Writing, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1edK7B9; Keyboard, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1LDkfwQ; Cyber Bullying, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1drDZoj; Money, MorgueFile, http://bit.ly/1drE0Zn

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Hello there and welcome. In this lesson, we will reflect on the use of SMART goals and action plans and see how they can help us move closer to continuous improvement. I'll also provide a couple of examples that will help shed light on implementation, capacity building, and sustainability, three essential ingredients to continuous improvement. Let's get started.

We'll start at one end of the spectrum, with a SMART goal written by a team of first grade teachers. By the end of the school year, 85% of first graders will demonstrate proficiency in forming and spacing letters and words legibly as measured by writing complete sentences. Let's first make sure it does, indeed, meet the criteria for being SMART. I'll highlight the passage to indicate each letter as it's addressed.

Is it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and does it have a timetable? The team of first grade teachers meet multiple times to discuss how to attack this goal. After extensive research, they approach administration with a proposal to pilot a handwriting program across grade one. These actions prompted the district to allocate the resources to purchase and implement a program called "Handwriting Without Tears."

In order to build capacity, teachers underwent a great deal of training in how to use the program and given the summer to explore the materials and manuals. Because it's a year-long program, it's essential that they begin it during the first weeks of school and continue it with fidelity throughout the year. Also, after baseline data is collected the teachers will use observational data, as well as develop and administer weekly assessments to chart the progress of their children.

Sustainability will occur if there are results. Since handwriting was identified as a concern and a specific plan was put into place to address it, the end of the year data will be crucial in deciding whether or not to fully adopt the program. If so, the district would likely include second grade the following year and so on. The SMART goals would need to be adjusted annually to include the older students and also adjust for the fact that teachers will become more comfortable using the program.

Next we'll create a scenario in which the district has decided to move forward with a 1:1 technology initiative for 12th grade students. By the next school year, our district will implement a 1:1 technology print for high school seniors. Every 12th grader will be given a laptop computer and internet accessibility to experience learning and teaching in the 21st century. Let's check if it's SMART. Is it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and is there a timetable?

This goal is different from the first one. The district has to do a great deal of the legwork to get this initiative off the ground. The Technology Department must research which device they would like to invest in, as well as determine if they want to buy or lease. They also have to devise a plan to address any potential problems that having an open network may cause. The SMART goal also refers to teaching in the 21st century, which means more training for teachers in the area of technology integration.

With the goal in place, the district must now do a few things to support it. For example, they need to increase the bandwidth of the high school to be able to connect all those computers to the network. They'll also need to revise the responsible use policy to reflect the change, as well as provide training for teachers and perhaps students as well. The final long-term piece that needs to be addressed is the sustainability of this initiative. In going 1:1, the key point to consider is the financial commitment that the district has made. Creative options will need to be explored to grow this initiative.

Teachers and administrators will have to work hard to share data with stakeholders, demonstrating that because of this initiative student achievement is up. Also, a discussion of which grades should be next to go 1:1 will have to take place. So to summarize, in this lesson I provided you with an elementary and a secondary example of reflecting on a SMART goal and using it for continuous improvement. In conclusion, you can see how implementation, capacity building, and sustainability are so important to making SMART goals a reality.

And now for today's food for thought. Use the additional resources section to learn more about the terms implementation, capacity building, and sustainability. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want. Thanks for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Reflection and Continuous Improvement"

(00:00-00:21) Intro

(00:22-01:03) Grade 1 SMART Goal

(01:04-02:22) Reflection

(02:23-03:00) Grade 12 SMART Goal

(03:01-04:17) Reflection

(04:18-04:58) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Successful Strategies for Teams: Team Member Handbook

This handbook from Clemson University provides organization tools, frameworks, and strategies for building effective teams. The handbook stresses the role of reflection in the team improvement process.
http://www.clemson.edu/OTEI/documents/teamwork-handbook.pdf


Tools for Schools, April/May 2002, Vol. 5, No. 5

This issue of the Learning Forward newsletter highlights the importance of reflection in practice. In addition, this issue offers strategies and tools for the reflective process.
http://learningforward.org/publications/tools-for-learning-schools/tools-for-learning-schools/2002/04/01/tools-for-schools-april-may-2002-vol.-5-no.-5#.VWEEG0_BzRY